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What is a business these days? It depends on your definition. Is it something you can visit and walk through? Somewhere where you can place your hands on the products, pick them up and examine them? Is it somewhere you can take your car to be washed?
Or is it something you type into a URL bar? A name you search on Google? Is it something you sign up to or subscribe to? Is it an online marketplace with no physical presence? It’s both, really. The term business isn’t glued to a timeline like other conventions.
What about your business? Is it a physical store front or an online marketplace? Is it something that offers consultations or services but you can’t actually visit it? It can truly be anything. A business could be your home address, and you sat in front of the TV with a laptop.
It doesn’t matter what, or where your business is, the same principles apply. If you don’t do things right, it will fall apart. If you can’t get customers or clients to trust you, you won’t make any money at all. No matter if your store or business is physical or based in the cloud, you’ve got to stick to almost the same concepts. The rules are tried-and-tested for a reason.
Marketing, quality, promotion and customer services are areas in which all successful businesses at least try and succeed in. That should apply to your business as well.
But where do you get started? Well, the internet! The world wide web has all the tools you need to succeed in every single area of your business. This might seem strange, but it is absolutely true.
Let’s start with the most basic thing. Cash. Your business needs money to succeed right? If you say it doesn’t, you have to be lying. You need money coming in on a regular basis to keep pushing forward. The internet offers you options for receiving payments and calculating your budget, so you don’t have to rely on the tools of old. Sites like Paypal and WePay can combine with contactless cards, online debit accounts, bitcoin and even the Apple and Android wallets that are located on your phone to collect money. It’s an easier way to pay, and you can collect payments faster and more secure than ever before. Even if you’re a physical store, you can still utilize these websites to success.
What about your accounting? If you’re gathering payments better and faster than ever, your books need to be in order. Thankfully there are options like Intuit Quickbooks which offer a cheap solution and allow you to check your tax, your payments, statements, budget and you can even manage payroll from the software. It’s an amazing tool and can connect directly to your business accounts to automate data entry and ensure that you’re always in charge of, and on top of, your cash. It’s a key tool and comes with a 30-day trial, so act fast.
That’s money out of the way. But there are much more tools the internet can offer to your business. Let’s take a look at the way you business communicates and see if the internet can provide a better way.
Most businesses rely on phone calls or email chains to speak to their internal staff. This is all well and good, but real-time communication options have been available for a while, and you should take advantage of the platforms that are available. Software like Basecamp’s Campfire exists that organizes your internal communication and projects in a single place. The advantages of this are often underestimated and having one single platform for multiple, yet linked, subject matter is a brilliant way to increase productivity. The campfire app within Basecamp allows you to communicate instantly and in-real time and link to work. This cuts a number of steps out the process and allows your workflow to be centralized. There are no more messy email chains. Instead, Basecamp offers message boards, instant chat, reminders, staff check-ins, and reports. Basecamp can essentially become your personal assistant was well as a work platform.
What about customer service? Well, social media sites exist that allow you to boost the presence of your brand, for free. If you get used to sites like Twitter and Facebook, you can interact with customers and solve issues in the public domain earning you and your business brownie points. Your website can also act as a customer service platform and could offer a messaging app that allows you to interact with your customers in real time and solve their issues. While you might get carried away with what the internet can offer, don’t leave your clients and customers behind!
The web can also help with marketing. As stated above, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter exist that will boost your brand. If you use these sites correctly and interact with influencers and market yourself correctly, you’ll have a useful promotion tool as well as a customer service platform. Your website is also a key facet of internet marketing, and if you’re boosting your SEO and keyword usage with local SEO help or using blogs and newsletters to generate leads then, your website is working well as a tool to promote your business over the internet.
The internet offers so many ways to improve your business. Whether it’s providing a communication tool to better organize your workforce or offering comprehensive marketing tools, there’s almost no end to what the internet can do for you and your business. From accounting to cash collection, to customer service – the choices are out there; you need only find them and start to utilize them. You can find ways to combine the methods offered by the world wide web with the traditional solutions you can find in the physical workplace to truly create a work environment or business that is firing on all cylinders across multiple fronts. It all does depend on how far you want to go down the rabbit hole of the internet in search for solutions to the problems presented to businesses in the digital age, though.
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